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Archive for April, 2010

“Now, somebody stands in the shadows who knows my every move before I make it…”

While we’re on the subject of DC and Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: Under the Red Hood (by Bruce Timm, Brandon Vietti and Judd Winick) will be available July 27th.

Official Press Release

BURBANK, CA – Batman confronts new enemies, old foes and painful memories when a powerful vigilante with a penchant for violence comes to Gotham City in the intense graphic-novel-come-to-life Batman: Under the Red Hood, the next entry in the popular ongoing series of DC UNIVERSE Animated Original PG-13 Movies coming July 27, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2 disc DVD for $29.99 (SRP) and $24.98 (SRP), respectively, as well as single disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP). The film will also be available On Demand and for Download.

The stellar voice cast has Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike in the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek) donning the famed cowl as the voice of Batman. Supernatural star Jensen Ackles is Red Hood, and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) voices Nightwing. John DiMaggio (Futurama) and Jason Issacs (the Harry Potter films) round out the main cast as The Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul, respectively.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is scripted by award-winning comics writer Judd Winick and based on his popular 2005 comics storyline and subsequent comics graphic novel of the same name. Animation guru Bruce Timm returns as executive producer, as he has for all eight DC Universe animated original movies. Director is Brandon Vietti, who served as co-director of Superman Doomsday and was responsible for the first one-third of that film, including the fatal battle between the two title characters.

In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. Killing is an option. And when The Joker falls in the balance between the two, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened.

Fans will be treated to an incredible package of DC Universe storytelling as the Special Edition Blu-Ray and 2-Disc Special Edition DVD include the second animated short in the all-new DC Showcase series – which features the popular DC Comics character, Jonah Hex. The short is scripted by renowned author Joe Lansdale and stars the voices of Thomas Jane (Hung), Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), Michelle Trachtenberg (Mercy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Michael Rooker (Days of Thunder).

Batman: Under the Red Hood – 2 Disc Special Edition DVD will have more than two hours of fascinating bonus features, including:

* Featurette – Robin’s Story – It was decided it was time to add a fresh face into the story mix, which turned out to be Dick Grayson, aka Robin. This is the story of Dick Grayson and how he transformed into Robin, with Batman as his father-figure role model.
* Extended Sneak Peek at the next DC UNIVERSE Animated Original PG-13 Movie.
* Widescreen (1.78:1)
* Two title-themed episodes from of Warner Bros. Animation’s 20-year history of Batman television series, hand-picked by animation legend Bruce Timm.

Batman: Under the Red Hood Special Edition Blu-Ray will have more than three hours of bonus materials, including all the great extras from the 2-disc Special Edition DVD as well as:

* Featurette: Death in the House of Batman – The story of how DC Comics heard the fans’ cry that the new Robin was not going to fit the cape, and how the Boy Wonder was scheduled to die.
* Two additional bonus Batman-themed episodes personally selected by Bruce Timm
* Digital copy

‘Batman: Under the Red Hood is another terrific entry in the groundbreaking series of DC Universe animated movies, a shining representation of the adult storytelling that comics-turned-to-film has to offer, and further evidence of the combined creative power within the collaboration of DC Entertainment, Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video,’ said Matt Bierman, Senior Vice President Production, Warner Premiere.

‘Judd Winick’s and Doug Mahnke’s story of a Robin gone wrong introduced Batman’s most personal enemy to date. It’s unbelievably cool to see it brought to life like this,’ said Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment.

‘With each exciting new chapter of the DC UNIVERSE films, fans have come to expect more – and Batman: Under the Red Hood delivers with an action-packed tale of mystery and emotional struggle brought to animated life by an outstanding filmmaking crew and voiced by the all-star talents of Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, Neil Patrick Harris and John Dimaggio,’ said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brand Marketing.

‘In his feature length solo directorial debut, Brandon Vietti has brought this dark, psychological thriller to the screen with all the action and emotion of a great Batman story,” said Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Warner Bros. Animation. ‘

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A little later than I would have liked, I finally had the opportunity to scoop up the Blu-Ray version of last year’s Wonder Woman from Warner Bros. Animation, and I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening sitting back to enjoy the feature. But let me first say that I’ve been fascinated with WW’s director Lauren Montgomery’s work since stumbling upon it a couple of years ago online. Not unlike Bruce Timm’s legendary creations, Montgomery finds success in creating an iconic visual of a character — like Wonder Woman — by breaking them down to essential concepts, then building them back from the ground up with a unique simplicity wholly her own.

I think that one of the aspects of her art that makes it jump off the page, or through the screen, is that she’s able to create this great sense of fluidity in her illustrations by exaggerating a characters features, or movement, and it ends up lending itself extremely well to an “animated” illustration wherein our eyes are drawn to that exaggeration and the characters movements seem all the more alive, more dynamic as a result. That, and there’s this great expression to those movements, like her characters faces, that’s just something to behold.

Uh…or…let’s let an illustration do the explaining. For example, Boodika, from Green Lantern: First Flight:

(I apologize for not having something like this from Wonder Woman to show, but hopefully you get the idea.)

Anyhow, Warner Bros. (and Bruce Timm) made an excellent call by putting her in charge of direction and visual design because her expertise translates beautifully to the screen in bringing everyone’s favorite Themyscirian Princess to life. And I’ve got to tell you, this is an extremely distinct version of Wonder Woman (voiced by Keri Russell), and one that I hope we haven’t seen the last of. In this feature Diana is a younger, brasher, more headstrong version of the character but also completely full of the zest for life, power, and strength of spirit that we know so well in later, more experienced versions. She’s also fiercely beautiful and a warrior born which they play up to great effect.

It’s here that I wanted to mention that all too often we hear about “strong women” only to have the conclusion drawn that such a woman is one almost completely “liberated” from man and his influences, and while the relationships between men and women is a theme that runs through the feature itself, we see the theme play out in Diana herself as she experiences more of the world than that which she knew solely as a daughter of Themyscira. Through Steve Trevor (voiced by Captain Reyn…Nathan Fillion) Diana finds that more than a few preconceptions about man don’t quite hold up under closer scrutiny, and as a man viewing the feature, I appreciated that Trevor had a voice in the movie and that he had some wisdom to impart along the way. Even in the little things, where he informs Diana that men don’t think women incapable of opening doors for themselves, etc., but simply that we care about them, and want to serve in small ways like that to show a sincere appreciation. In other words, I liked that Diana had realized herself so capable in her young life and I hope all women can feel empowered in a similar way but I also liked the fact that Diana realized that man has his own strengths to bear and that man and woman can — and are meant to — coexist happily together.

Wonder Woman is a great character when handled deftly with confidence and vision, and it’s good to know that there are so many people out there capable of putting a good story together like this so as to highlight why she’s remained a vibrant icon for so long and what plenty she has left to contribute. And there is plenty of story to be had here, some great character moments, surprises, a fully realized world, fantastically fierce battle scenes (which are a highlight of the film) and more than a few laughs to be had so I don’t hesitate to say that I was extremely pleased with the results and can’t wait to sink a couple of more hours into all the extra’s padded into the release. Wonder Woman is probably my favorite  DC-Animated features in recent years this side of New Frontier, so a well deserved kudo’s to everyone involved.

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Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced just a few hours ago, and after a decade of waiting no doubt it’s being met with thunderous applause. Count me among the chorus. I have great memories playing the originals in the nickel arcades (a great novelty place not far from home) and on my home console (where I was lucky to obtain one of the ultra rare copies of MvC2 for the PS2) and…ahem…marveling at how much fun it was to rip through the competition playing as Captain America and so many of my other favorites. I loved the graphics, the game play, and just the fun-factor of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, so while I’m a bit older than I was in those days, age hasn’t dimmed my enthusiasm, nor the fact that I’ll be pre-ordering this pronto!

And the best part…I see Captain America’s silhouette in the bottom right corner (see who else you’ll spot back there)!

[More to come, and don’t forget to check out the teaser trailer below]

Official Press Release:

Capcom®, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, and the legendary Marvel Entertainment, LLC today announced the latest installment in their epic fighting game series with Marvel® vs. Capcom ®3: Fate of Two Worlds.

It’s been a decade since MarvelTM vs. Capcom® 2: New Age of Heroes was first released and now the most popular Marvel and Capcom characters join forces again in a re-envisioned team fighting game for a new generation. Fill the shoes of legendary characters from the most beloved franchises in entertainment as you battle in the first VS. Fighting game powered by Capcom’s MT Framework.

‘We are so pleased to be working with Marvel again. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been one of the most requested titles for us to produce by our fans,” said Christian Svensson, Corporate Officer and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Capcom. “Our Capcom development studio is creating the most epic fighting game ever developed and Marvel’s input into that process has been invaluable.’

Get set for the ultimate faceoff when Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds hits PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft in Spring 2011.

For more information please visit http://press.capcom.com.

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Warms my heart to see Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Mera, The Atom, Firestorm, Deadman and the Martian Manhunter featured prominently on the cover of what will surely be one of DC’s best selling books in July. These are some of my favorite characters, too long regulated to the sidelines, and its great to see them being featured front, center, and respectfully…though this “more harm than good” thing has me a little worried. Well, not really. Just looking for some great stories ahead.

On sale JULY 7
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by GEOFF JOHNS & PETER J. TOMASI
Art by IVAN REIS, PATRICK GLEASON, ARDIAN SYAF, SCOTT CLARK & JOE PRADO
Cover by DAVID FINCH & SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 variant cover by IVAN REIS

Deadman discovers the truth behind the formation of the White Lantern and what it means to the twelve returnees and the rest of the DC Universe. Plus, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm discover the price for their resurrections…and why they may be doing more harm than good to the world.

Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

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Just a quick reminder that with the purchase of 10 copies of the Flash #1, retailers were given the opportunity to order a certain number of Flash Promotional Rings, and these are showing up in stores today (Wednesday, April 14th) so if you want one…ahem…run down to your LCS and purchase a copy of The Flash #1 so that you can score one. The retailer I stopped by had a handful of them left, but only a few copies of the book left on the stands so you may not want to drag your knuckles on this one.

From Flash scribe Geoff Johns:

One of the many great Flash Facts about DC Comics is that they actually do support the retailers with promotions like this that not only make our whole business a bit more fun, but also bring the promotion to every single reader. Of course, the proof is in the content and I couldn’t be prouder of the work Francis Manapul and I are doing on THE FLASH and Doug Mahnke and I are creating on GREEN LANTERN. Thanks to everyone, retailers and readers, for an amazing 2009 and here’s to an even better 2010!

I was fortunate enough to have gotten a ring (which my former 8-year old self would have worn everywhere) and it really is cool that DC was able to do this for the fans out there supporting the book. I appreciate that extra effort and will hang on to this one as something special. Now to sit down and read the book.

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Great looking cover!

“I always liked the Atom.”

I wanted to echo that sentiment, and it’s one of the reasons I’m really glad to hear that Ray Palmer will be getting not only a one-shot entitled Brightest Day: The Atom #1 following the conclusion of Blackest Night (which I’m still patiently awaiting in HC) but that he’ll also be receiving a  co-feature in Adventure Comics as written by Sweet Tooth’s Jeff Lemire and Dynamo 5’s Mahmud Asrar. And with that in mind, can a one-shot, or ongoing, for the Atom’s buddies Hawkman and Hawkgirl be very far away!? I certainly hope not.

From Brian Cunningham at DC’s blog, The Source:

Come July, I’m very proud to be editing a story that provides us a new look at Ray Palmer, beginning with the one-shot BRIGHTEST DAY: THE ATOM #1. Spiraling out of our next major event, writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) worked with the BRIGHTEST DAY crew and myself to really take a microscope to Ray’s early life and show how certain key events led a nerdy science whiz to the unlikely life of a superhero. And the stuff that Jeff came up with really impressed me. It’s a story worthy of Ray Palmer.

Throughout this issue, we get reacquainted with old friends and meet new ones, as well as a new enemy that only the Atom could possibly do battle with. The art will be done by a fantastic newcomer to DC, Mahmud Asrar (Dynamo 5). Mahmud will visualize some really dynamic tricks Jeff has come up with to make Atom’s fighting style thoroughly unique.

From this one-shot, Atom’s story will continue as a co-feature in ADVENTURE COMICS #516, hitting stores a couple weeks later in July. And it’s there that Jeff and Mahmud really get on a roll.

I’ve got to say, with The Flash, Green Lantern, Blackest Night, and so many other great stories and initiatives firing on all cylinders — it’s a great time to be a DCU fan.

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“Must Eat Brains”

Check out the 5-page preview of I, i, Zombie #1 by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred at the Vertigo blog. [Some mature content]

And keep your eyes…ahem…peeled for the issue on May 5th.

Gwen Dylan is a gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery…and a zombie detective. Once a month, she has to eat a human brain – both to keep from going all “Night of the Living Dead,” and to keep her own memories intact. As a result, Gwen’s mind is crowded with the dead person’s thoughts. And lately, she feels compelled to fulfill their final requests. Torn between a mysterious mummy and a dashing young monster-hunter, Gwen is set for adventures beyond imagination! A were-terrier, a swinging ’60s ghost and a pack of paintball blasting vampires complete the cast of I, ZOMBIE.

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